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An Interview with prospect Isranel Wilson

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Rookie ball outfielder Isranel Wilson may have just joined the Braves, but he made a quick impression with scouts and fans. He sat down to talk about his offseason, his adjustment to America, and Erick Aybar.

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

When a 17 year old manages to start his career with a stateside team, he immediately draws eyes. That is just what center fielder Isranel Wilson did, and impressed with his raw athleticism. Hailing from St. Martin, he had to make more than a few adjustments (including a change of position) and at the outset of his time with the Braves struggled to make contact. Through the first 14 games of his career, he was hitting just .132/.283/.211 with a 32.6% strikeout rate. Two days later, he launched the first home run of what would become an impressive span of play that saw him hit more extra base hits than singles.

Isranel was viewed as a potential 5 tool player coming out of the Dominican Republic where he trained, but immediately his power jumped out as better than expected. His .257 ISO was amongst the best in the system, and at 6'3 and 185 pounds it remains likely he could add a good bit more pop to that bat. His speed didn't show up as well on the bases as it had been hoped, with only 3 successful stolen bases in 7 attempts, but he has plenty of range in the outfield. A left handed bat, Isranel actually hit left handers better in an extremely small sample, posting a .977 OPS vs LHP to a .782 OPS vs RHP. While it seems unlikely for him to make a full season team, Wilson turns 18 in early March, remaining one of the youngest and most raw players in the system. Isranel was one of the more hyped young names in the system this winter, and gave me an opportunity to do a quick interview with him about his offseason, his adjustment to the American game, and a certain Brave he grew up a fan of.

Talking Chop Speaks to Isranel Wilson

First off, how has your offseason been. Have you been enjoying your time off?

My offseason has been great , not much time to enjoy and have fun. I am trying to focus on the little things I have to work on to be the that player I know I can be .

Is there anything in particular you have been focusing on this offseason?

Oh yeah, everyone know this...I had a bit of a problem with the pitches away. I am working on dominating those. I know what I can do with the pitches inside .

You skipped the Dominican Summer League, where most international prospects go their first year, and went straight to the Gulf Coast League. How difficult was it to adjust to those new surroundings and a new culture?

It was a big jump for me with having to mature before time, having to leave my family behind, and heading to the Florida to achieve my goals. It felt good, was a big jump for me having to change position from extended spring right into GCL. Once I felt comfortable, I saw the results in the last month of the season . Now that I know how everything works, I'm working on starting off just how I left off last season or better!

Which teammates were you the closest friends with?

Ronald Acuna and Leudy Baez

Were you always a baseball player growing up, or did you play other sports?

Baseball was always number one. I also played flag football and basketball

Was there a particular player or players you idolized growing up?

From when I was young, I was used to playing shortstop. I am a Erick Aybar fan since his days in Dominican Winter League

So you watched him a lot when he played with the Tigres del Licey?

Yes, my family at home are Licey fans

Are you excited that he's now playing for the Braves?

Yes!!! Can't wait to meet him in spring training, maybe get to know him well and grab some dinner one day.

What are you most excited about for the 2016 season?

Can't wait to head over to Orlando in 2 weeks and work myself hard to make it to a full season team!!!

Well I am certainly rooting for you. Good luck this season and thank you for your time. Before I go, is there anything you would like Braves fans to know about you?

Braves fans please be be calm, we got plenty of championships ahead of us.